The Great Gatsby Essay | Student Essay

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He Told Me (a Father's Word): Authoritative Discourse in the Great Gatsby

Summary: Mikhail Bakhtin, in his essay "Discourse in the Novel," characterizes his theory of authoritative discourse as "the word of the fathers," in which previous external knowledge demands a "simultaneously internally persuasive" acknowledgement. In a novel that uses language as a device for uncovering the perceived identity of its protagonist, F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby also shows evidence of this same external narration that attempts to achieve discrimination between classes and control the behavior that governs social conduct.
Mikhail Bakhtin, in his essay "Discourse in the Novel," characterizes his theory of authoritative discourse as "the word of the fathers," in which previous external knowledge demands a "simultaneously internally persuasive" acknowledgement (532). Bakhtin explains further that this authoritative word is met with its influence intact and is therefore perceived as truth, finding its way into the point of view in which everything is examined. It requires complete commitment to its authority. Given its absolute authority, however, also requires that the follower accepts as true the "entire context framing it" and it "enters our verbal consciousness as a compact and indivisible mass" with no freedom to reject parts of the ideology when it no longer suits (Bakhtin, 533). It is consequently difficult for any transmission of thought or word to stand clear of this intrinsic dogma. In a novel that...

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This section contains 1,260 words
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Buy the Student Essay on He Told Me (a Father's Word): Authoritative Discourse in the Great Gatsby
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